“ I started this company in 1980 with 2 paychecks and the core knowledge that I would be successful. This comes with being 24 and cocky. I was woefully under-capitalized and technically inexperienced but street smart, hyper focused and had a great mentor. From the beginning, I did not conform to a normal business strategy, which meant that I screwed up a lot the first 10 years. Yes, well. Survived all that.
The company started out as Allcotton (one word) since I had this idea of promoting only natural products for upholstery (canvas, velvet, duck, ottoman cloths, etc.) Great idea that was way too early.
My company took off when I changed the name to Joseph Noble – still not sure why. I hated printed fabrics when I started, so I focused solely on woven textiles. I had no formal training but had/have a strong editors’ eye.
I design, edit and manufacture products that are created by some of the best mills in the world, which are then specified by some of the best architectural firms in the world. I work from a strength and clarity of vision – handsomely executed wovens, clean clear designs, honest contemporary colors. These products, my products, are in beautiful homes and offices globally. A fact that I continue to be proud of.
I’m rarely short on inspiration, given my curiosity. I enjoy fashion, but only at arm’s length. I’m interested in greatness. I’m at my best when surrounded by creativity and imagination. I’m successful when I understand my value, both to myself and those I value. I’ve never stopped trying to become qualified for this job. I sell dry goods, but they are beautiful dry goods.
As a boss, I’m tough but I’m fair. I hire well. I’m not interested in what I’ll never be able to do. Smarter men than me have lost everything. In most cases, I want less charm and more efficiency.
Speaking for my generation, most mornings I approach my computer in honest amazement. I’m now managing and sharing information in a highly visual, immediate way that was unthinkable when I started the company.
When I look at the world, now, through this prism called the internet, I see business, design, education, travel, movies, fashion, sports, TV, books, magazines as simply a new way of viewing and experiencing global access, global communication, global entertainment, and global consumption. I remain inspired by this new toy…and grateful.
My full name is Joseph Valentine Noble IV. My father tells the story of how his father was ridiculed by the cutest girl in school because of this name, which I completely understand. I was born in Phoenix, Arizona. Raised on Oak Street. Growing up, I threw papers, bagged groceries, cut grass. Never finished high school. My father owned a company, as did his father. It somehow seems predestined I would do the same. I’m the luckiest person I know.
Okay, enough of all that. Let’s all get back to work.”
A good editor is never
– Joseph Noble